Green Machine Burrito

More to come later this week, but I was struck this evening by some sort of wild motivation to grocery shop and cook a real meal for dinner (often it’s a super easy eggs and Eggos dinner for me). Obviously, I had to share the best meal I’ve made in awhile. Plus it was super healthy. I wanted to get it down before I forgot the ingredients (it was a make-it-up-as-I-go kind of meal. Hence the scientific measurements.):

Green Machine Burrito

Makes one small burrito

Half of an avocado
Half of a sweet potato
Two scoops of “veggie protein crumbles” (similar to ground beef if you want to use that instead)
Lime wedge for squeezing on top (not to be confused with the wedgie that you may find difficult to pick while you still have lime juice on your hands)
One glop of plain Greek yogurt
A healthy drizzle of (pre-made) salsa verde
One magical dash of salt on top
A baby flour tortilla to swaddle all of the ingredients tightly before you cuddle them straight into your mouth

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  1. Follow directions to brown veggie protein crumbles (in skillet over medium heat for 4-6 minutes). If using ground beef, brown meat in greased skillet over medium heat until…well, until brown.
  2. If using the Lazy Girl Method for Cooking Potatoes (I’ve practiced this method for many years), cut sweet potato in half and remove all of the deeper, ugly blemishes. With a fork, take out all of your frustration from the day and stab the half of the potato 5-10 times and then wrap in two damp paper towels. Microwave for five minutes, checking to see at the end of the time if it’s cooked to your satisfaction. If not, continue nuking for one minute at a time until soft.
  3. Using your Magic Bullet, a blender, or any food processor, throw the cooked sweet potato in and blend until mashed.
  4. Cut avocado in half, and dice using this method.
  5. Assembling the final masterpiece, from the base up:
    1. Smear the mashed sweet potato on your tortilla
    2. Arrange your avocado cubes in an orderly fashion
    3. Invite your meat (or meat substitute) to the party
    4. Drizzle the desired amount of salsa verde
    5. Glop (yes, it’s a verb in this context) your greek yogurt on as the hat
    6. And then make it rain with your lime juice and salt

Sing your baby burrito a lullaby and then kiss it goodnight.

Enjoy!

Five pins Friday

Inspired by the soul-sucking Pinterest that I cannot get enough of, here are some of my favorite pins of late.

1. Book I want to read

Divergent, by Veronica Roth. Julie mentioned liking it even more than The Hunger Games, and considering I ripped through all three of those books in like three weeks, I have high expectations for this one. Even better – it’s the first in a trilogy! Now I just have to finish book two and three of The Maze Runner series I’m in the middle of…god, I love dystopian-genre books.

2. Skill I want to learn

Styling my hair. Seriously, I have never actually learned how to properly blow dry, curl, brush, wash my hair. Whenever my hair is nicely styled (by someone else or from a two-hour arm workout by me), people often think I have dyed it, gotten it cut, or am wearing a wig because it looks so different from my usual rat’s nest.

Part of the reason I think I have never learned this skill is because I kind of feel crazy spending more than six minutes on my hair. Pinterest mocks me every day with styles that I wish I could mimick:

Interestingly, I am pretty good at doing up-dos on my hair, probably because 1) my hair is curly and the texture makes it easy to pin (i.e., it holds shape easily because it’s not slippery), and 2) because I’ve had to compensate for my lack of hot-tool expertise by creating different up-do styles.

3. Dress I want to find

Look at this beauty! I would then need to find somewhere I could actually wear it…it looks like she’s in Europe somewhere maybe? I could dig planning a European getaway to justify a dress purchase.

4. Butt I want to have

Ever since I started working full-time, I have been dreading more and more the secretary “pancake butt.” Growing up, I was never sedentary, and didn’t think twice about the shape of my tush because I did lots of high-impact and strengthening activity that took care of it.  Plus, I was like 13, and I just didn’t care about my butt.

Now, sitting at a desk nine hours a day, I am increasingly aware that I am at high risk for Pancake-Butt Syndrome. So I’ve been doing lots more leg and glute-stengthening exercises at the gym (which, I know, will also help my half-marathon training).

My word. Jessica Biel has a nice rear.

5. Food I want to make

Do these not make you mouth water just looking at them? I love salty and sweet treats. Plus I clicked through to the creator’s blog, and she seems awesome. Making these ASAP (and if I have time, they might even come along to girls’ weekend with me). Hopefully all of the chocolate and peanut butter in these will go straight to plumping up my bum.

Happy Friday!

Warm cinnamon fruit salad

Last night I hit the gym to do a 4.5  mile run on the treadmill (it was too dark to run outside at that point) and a full-body strength workout.

When I have to spend more than like 20 minutes on a cardio machine, I normally like to lift weights before I do the cardio because I know I won’t feel motivated to do all of the lifting afterwards, whereas if I do my lifting first, I can usually muster up the motivation to stay on a cardio machine long enough to finish. Does that happen to anyone else?

I feel like the reason is because with lifting, I’m constantly pausing to change weights, start new sets, move to a different machine, etc., and it gives me that many more opportunities to think about how tired I am.  On a cardio machine, I simply start and then chug along until the time or distance is up, and there’s no stopping to think. Basically, if I could turn into a zombie at the gym, I would be really freakin’ fit.

So last night I followed my normal order of events, and after lifting, hopped on the treadmill to start my 4.5 miles. And then at 1.5 miles, I was suddenly hit with the running-on-empty-no-pun-intended-my-stomach-is-an-bottomless-pit feeling. So I incline walked 0.5 miles, stretched, left, and came home to make this laughably easy and delicious experiment instead!  Ah, well. Not every run is your best one. I’ll make up the miles sometime in the next day or two.

Warm Cinnamon Fruit Salad

serves 1

Ingredients:

1 medium size banana

1 medium size apple (any kind)

Approximately 1 cup of green grapes

Approximately 2 tablespoons of Earth Balance, butter, or margarine

Cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice to flavor

Plain greek yogurt to garnish

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1. Slice up all fruits into medium-to-small size chunks.

2. Throw all of the fruit and Earth Balance/butter/margarine into a medium-sized pot on the stove. Set heat to medium-low.

3. Gently stir mixture for about 10 minutes, sprinkling in the desired amount of cinnamon (and I later decided to add pumpkin pie spice as well) about halfway through. Let all of the fruit be coated with the Earth Balance and cinnamon. Don’t worry about the bananas getting all mushy – that’s the best part.

4. The mixture will start smelling really, really good, and infiltrate your whole house. Make sure to continue stirring slowly while protecting it from the others that will surely come in to see what you’re making.

Protect it closely.

5. After about 10 minutes, take the mixture off of the heat and serve immediately.

Garnish with a generous dollop of Daisy plain Greek yogurt. Don’t skip this part! The tartness of the yogurt is the perfect cool, creamy compliment to the sweet, syrupy salad (<– alliteration station). Plus it gives it staying power by adding protein.

The best part about this meal is that it’s healthy and tastes like a dessert. Who doesn’t like dessert for dinner?

Enjoy!

Off to try to accomplish that 4.5 mile run before it’s too dark outside.

Ch-ch-ch-chia

Good morning!

Willoughby and I are still in our pajamas. I’ll be changing soon (even though I’m working remotely, I do actually throw on jeggings instead of lounge around in my pjs all day. Come on, people…I am not THAT much of a bum), but I expect that Willoughby will be in his all day. That, or his pajamas look exactly like the outfit he wears every day. Haven’t figured that one out yet…

As I was eating my breakfast this morning (oatmeal with chopped dates, sliced almonds, peanut butter, and chia seeds), I decided that it would be a good idea to share the benefits of chia seeds with you. After some research (since I am not an expert), here are some of the best things about chia seeds that I could find:

That last one is my personal favorite.

Aside from their entertainment and fashion value, Chia seeds they actually have great nutritional benefits. In fact, they are often regarded as one of the best superfoods to consume!

What are chia seeds, exactly?

Definitely NOT my hand.

Here’s a great, brief description I found on their source and history (source):

Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows abundantly in southern Mexico. You may have seen chia sprouts growing on the novelty planters called Chia Pets, but historically, the seeds have been the most important part of the plant. In pre-Columbian times they were a main component of the Aztec and Mayan diets and were the basic survival ration of Aztec warriors. I’ve read that one tablespoon was believed to sustain an individual for 24 hours. The Aztecs also used chia medicinally to stimulate saliva flow and to relieve joint pain and sore skin.

Now check out some stats on them. Here are some easy ways to compare chia seeds to your favorite “every day” foods. Per serving, they have (source):

  • More Omega-3 than Atlantic Salmon
  • More Antioxidants than fresh blueberries
  • More Fiber than bran flakes
  • More Calcium than 2% milk
  • More Protein, Fiber & Calcium than flax seed

The best thing about chia seeds is that you can add them into pretty much anything that you want: they don’t have a strong taste, and only add a little bit of crunch to the texture of your food; they can be cooked or eaten raw; and they can even be used in baking as a substitute for eggs! (mixing raw chia seeds with water and allowing to absorb for a little while creates a viscous fluid, as chia seeds gel went wet. This is an especially fun fact when you eat dry chia seeds and then find a gelly one stuck in between your teeth four hours later).

Although chia seeds are still gaining mainstream popularity as a superfood, they are generally available at any health-food store (I got mine at Whole Foods), and you can definitely order them online.

What are you waiting for? Ch-ch-ch-chia!

Things I’m looking forward to

  1. Working remotely tomorrow. I love my coworkers, but who doesn’t want to be able to not have to get dressed up for the office and lay on a couch with your computer instead of sitting in an office chair under buzzing fluorescent lights every once in awhile? Don’t tell me you don’t. Because NO ONE likes fluorescent lights. Fluorescent lights could make even Kate Middleton look bad.

    Good one, Anna. I am actually the only creature on this planet that looks BETTER in fluorescent lighting.

  2. Girls’ weekend in Charlotte. One of my very best friends is getting married next year, and her sister (her maid of honor) somehow won a “bridal bash” for her in a drawing she entered at a bridal show. I don’t know all of the details, but apparently, all of us bridesmaids (and the bride, of course!) get free facials and some other surprises, so we decided to make a weekend out of it. A carload of us are driving down to Charlotte Saturday morning, doing “bridal bashy” things, staying overnight, and then having brunch Sunday morning. I can’t WAIT to spend some time with most of my best friends!
  3. Willoughby Wednesday. Duh.
  4. Breakfast. I love breakfast. Everything about it. I love breakfast food, I love the fact that I get to eat after being forced to not eat for like ten hours straight (I’m still working on figuring out how to eat while sleeping), and I love eating in general. Really, there is nothing bad about breakfast. Except that there are no synonyms for it, so I have said breakfast too many times in this bullet.

    I wish this is what my breakfast was going to look like in the morning. And I wish this is what my room looked like. And that someone would make my bed for me in the mornings. Is that not what happens on the days you work remotely?

  5. Hearing whether or not you smiled and/or actually laughed after reading this article that has been on the “Living Well” page of CNNhealth.com for like three months.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/expert.q.a/11/14/child.eats.poop.shu/index.html

Just look at the title of the link. You cannot NOT smile when you read that. Disgustingly hilarious.

And after a good, quality, obviously thought-out post, I am now going to bed to dream about what I’m going to eat in nine hours.

Five things Friday

I’ll have more of an update of my week (hopefully) tomorrow. Happy Friday!

1. I have the best video of Willoughby on my phone, and I cannot for the life of me get it to upload or send anywhere. I am going to figure it out and share it with you this weekend, because it needs to be shared (I mean, there are adoring fans WAITING for it).

 

2. I got an MRI today for the first time (just to make sure my noggin is well…I have developed severe migraines over the past year or so). Since I’m not claustrophobic, it was fine, but I couldn’t help but feel like I was on the Space Mountain rollercoaster in Disney World in Orlando. There were vibrations and loud knocking and laser-gun-type sounds all over the place, and I had a funny contraption strapped over my head to make sure I didn’t sit up in the doughnut-looking machine. Here’s me before my scan:

Sike. On a side note, I asked the folks that scanned me if I could see the image(s) of my brain afterwards, and they were nice enough to burn me a CD of all of the pictures the machine took. SO COOL. The human brain seriously kind of looks like this:

(thanks Jess for reminding me why I don’t eat at McDonalds. Yes, that is mechanically separated chicken.)

 

3. Joe is semi-afraid that if I post too many things of Willo or cats on here that people will actually think I am a cat-obsessed dweebus. I am pretty much just telling you this to try to make you think that I am not a cat-obsessed dweebus…however, you need to looks at this. I cannot help myself. It is HILARIOUS.

The 25 Most Awkward Cat Sleeping Positions

4. Since you already think I only post about cats, here’s a picture that you may enjoy. Joe and I posed together pretending to hold Willoughby when we were on an out-of-town trip a couple of weeks ago because I told him we needed a good family picture. He didn’t think I would actually photoshop Willo in. I love proving people wrong.

5. I took a class last night at my gym on whim called BodyCombat.  Has anyone ever taken it? It’s a mixed martial arts-inspired aerobics class. The teacher last night was pregnant, and SUPER into it, as in warrior-scream-bug-eyed-roaring-punching-the-air-to-kill into it. I was torn between being impressed at her vigor and energy while pregnant, scared that she would come to the back of the studio and rip my head off with her teeth, and busting out laughing at her warrior roars at the end of the sets.

Also, she started sweating from her bellybutton, and then the sweat circle expanded from there to the rest of her torso, which made me feel like her baby fluid was leaking out of her tummy. The class was kind of a weird experience in general, and while I didn’t find it too challenging while I was doing it, I am definitely slightly sore in my shoulders from beating up imaginary opponents.

With that, Joe and I are off to a Lebanese restaurant that I’ve been wanting to try downtown, and we’re meeting his sister and mom there.

TGIF!

Weekend recap – Shabu Shabu, Mama Dip’s, basketball and the runs

Well, I didn’t actually get the runs. But I did run!

Happy Monday!

This weekend was a really awesome weekend – it was full of fun activities, quality time with family and friends, tasty food, and beautiful weather. The weather has been so pleasant here I am actually convinced that North Carolina slipped down to Florida overnight.

Friday night Joe and I went to Shabu Shabu for dinner. If you’ve never had Shabu-style cooking (I hadn’t; Joe had once before), it’s really fun. Basically, you get a bunch of different platters of raw foods (we got paper-thin slices of beef, lobster, shrimp, scallops, mussels, broccoli, baby corn, cabbage, rice, and three different dipping sauces) that you cook for yourself at your table in big pots of boiling broth. Below is a picture (not mine…I was too busy “swish swish”-ing to take a picture, which is what “shabu shabu” translates to) to give you an idea of what it looks like:

Everything was tasty! Joe and I always really enjoy “interactive” food experiences that involve kind of “playing” with the food instead of just shoveling it in your mouth (of course, we do enjoy the shoveling part…we just like to make a mess before we shovel). Some of our favorite “experiential foods” include:

  • Pistachios
  • Crab legs
  • Artichokes (including the leaves; not just the hearts prepared for you ahead of time)
  • Korean barbecue-style cooking (similar to Shabu shabu, where you cook your own raw ingredients on a grill at your table)
  • Joe loves mussels and oysters (I’d rather chew my toenails. Oh wait…I did that when I was a kid. I don’t.)
  • Chasing down wild coyotes to cook in our fireplace

Just kidding on that last one. We don’t usually have to chase them; we just pick them up as roadkill…

The rest of Friday night was spent re-stocking our wine collection at Trader Joe’s and hanging out at home with our son. Here he is with his favorite toy, the tree that he is slowly destroying:

Saturday morning we both hit the gym – Joe lifted and I ellipticized for 40 minutes and did a circuit of strength-training (<–over an hour spent there. STILL sore.) We bombed around Raleigh in the afternoon, trying to find me a new red shirt to wear to the NC State game we were going to that night, getting Joe a haircut (normally I cut his hair, but we were at the mall and he decided that since he hadn’t had a “real” haircut in a while that he should get a clean-up…what? I don’t cut cleanly enough for you?!), and laying in a field at a local park for two glorious, sunny hours.

Even though we didn’t find me a new red shirt, life had to go on, so we spent the evening at the NC State vs. UVA game. We weren’t really supposed to win, but we were SO close to winning at the end that it was kind of bittersweet.

Sunday morning we were up bright and early to head to Chapel Hill, where one of our best friend’s parents had organized a brunch at the locally famous Mama Dip’s (I got the Sweet Potato Pancake Sandwich for breakfast – two sweet potato pancakes served with one egg and your choice of bacon or sausage - and housed it all with no problem) to celebrate one of our friend’s graduation from nursing school and our jump rope coach’s wife’s retirement.

There were about 10 of our closest friends and it was SO great to spend time with everyone!

After brunch, Joe, Ted and I stopped over at Joe’s grandma’s house to celebrate her 85th birthday with some cake and wine (at 2 in the afternoon…that’s how she rolls). For her birthday present, she requested that they come over and gather a bunch of firewood to replenish her wood-burning stove supply, so they hauled and chopped and spent about an hour thinking they were being manly in general.

As soon as Joe and I got home on around 4pm, I attempted my first run outside (during my training for this half marathon). I love running outside, but since it’s been chilly or too dark when I get home from work to run outside, I’ve been doing all of my running on the treadmill at the gym. I want to make sure to run outside as much as possible when I can, though, so I get used to hills and other factors.

Surprisingly, I was a super speedy gonzalez, finishing 5 miles in 40 minutes! I know I was running slower than that going up some of the hills, which means that I had some sub-8-minute miles going downhill or on flat stretches, which is INSANE for me to think about! Big confidence booster!

Now that you have a minute-by-minute breakdown of my weekend, tell me about yours! Claire and Alex, I’ve already talked to both of you, but feel free to be the only commenters again.

Please.

What is your favorite style of food to eat when you eat out? How old is your grandma? What’s the weather like where you are? On a scale of 1-10, how much do you wish it was Friday? How much do you love teacup pomeranians?

Thoughts for Friday

Some thoughts and updates for today:

1. Even though I’ve been training for it, I just got around to officially registering for my half marathon (yay!). Originally I was just looking for a half in NC that was around May to train for, but this one actually sounds like it’s going to be awesome. Here’s a description of the course and a picture from their website:

The New River Half-Marathon also courses primarily along the banks of the South Fork New River.  The course offers approximately 9 miles of running along the New River.  For the 4 miles that wind away from the flat and fast New River Valley, the course offers 2 primary climbs, rolling country roads, and a tour through historic Todd.

Doesn’t that sound beautiful? I think it’s going to be scenic and really nice to run along a river for a lot of the time. I love western North Carolina.

Also, I’ve been thinking more and more about continuing training after completing the half marathon to go up to marathon distance. I really want to do a marathon, but I think I’m just going to have to see how body responds to running long distances again after injuring myself during my last half marathon.

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2. Speaking of fun races, I also registered for the Rugged Maniac 5k to do with Joe, Ted, and Kristen (my step-sister) in April in Greensboro, and I am SO excited about this one! Kristen, my step-mom and I did the race last year in Virginia and it was a blast. Here’s a description of the race from their website:

Rugged Maniac is a 5K (3.2 mile) obstacle course race that combines the most rugged terrain and burly obstacles to allow those with a sense of adventure to define themselves, then bask in glory at a rocking after party with live music, food and plenty of beer.

Each Rugged Maniac features at least fifteen obstacles constructed by an experienced crew of licensed contractors. These aren’t the pop-up kiddie obstacles you’ll see at other races. You’ll climb over walls up to 7’ high, crawl through mud under barbed wire, hop from stump to stump over a pit of water, slide down a 60’ water slide, navigate a web of pipes, jump over fire and face many other challenges all while running through a combination of forests, fields, motocross tracks and ski slopes.

And here are a bunch of pictures of us at last year’s race. When they say you get muddy, they are NOT lying:

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3. I have these songs lined up on Grooveshark and can’t stop listening to them on repeat:

    • Best Love Song by T-Pain and Chris Brown
    • Got 2 Luv U by Sean Paul (feat. Alexis Jordan)
    • You Da One by Rihanna
    • What’s My Name by Rihanna (feat. Drake)
    • Body on Me by Nelly
    • Make Me Proud by Drake
    • Headlines by Drake
    • Take Care by Drake (feat. Rihanna)

Drake and Rihanna are both the bomb.

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4. I saw this quote on Twitter earlier and had to retweet it.

“I am building a fire, and everyday I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match.” Mia Hamm

Love that.

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5. How adorable are these photographer’s pictures of his two daughters??

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What are you doing this weekend? Found any fun links recently to share? Who do you think would win in a fist fight – Drake or Nelly?! What about in a looking-cute fight? 

Best workout songs

Even though I have no idea how to update my own iPod or download music (you think I’m joking…up until 2 weeks ago when Joe added some music to my iPod, I ONLY had our wedding music playlists on it because it was Joe’s wedding gift to me. From September to January. 60 songs.), I am always looking out for songs that I think would be great to jam out to during a workout.

Here’s what I have so far – lots of them are super old pop favorites (ex: Bye Bye Bye, *NSync. Oh yeah!)

Pump up playlist

  • Upgrade U - Beyonce
  • Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems - Notorious B.I.G, Puff Daddy, and Mase
  • Ghetto Superstar - Pras Michael, Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Mýa
  • ABC - Jackson 5
  • Ring the Alarm - Beyonce
  • Disturbia - Rihanna
  • Party in the USA - Miley Cyrus
  • Three - Britney Spears
  • Evacuate the Dance Floor - Cascada
  • Tik Tok - Ke$ha
  • Poker Face - Lady Gaga
  • Bills, Bills, Bills - Destiny’s Child
  • Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Smack Dat - Akon and Eminem
  • Let’s Get Loud - Jennifer Lopez
  • Girlfriend - Avril Lavigne
  • Sk8er Boi - Avril Lavigne
  • No Escapin’ This - Beatnuts
  • Deja Vu - Beyonce
  • I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll - Britney Spears
  • All the Small Things - Blink 182
  • Right Here (Departed) - Brandy
  • Womanizer - Britney Spears
  • Deliverance - Bubba Sparxx
  • Long Way 2 Go - Cassie
  • Run This TownJay-Z feat. Kanye and Rihanna
  • ObsessedMariah Carey
  • Drop It LowEster Dean Ft. Chris Brown
  • Heard ‘Em All - Amerie
  • Hard - Rihanna
  • Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas
  • It Takes Two - Rob Base and DJ Easy Rock
  • Get Low - Lil’ John and the Eastside Boyz
  • Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) - C & C Music Factory Freedom Williams
  • We Will Rock You - Queen
  • Eye of the Tiger - Survivor
  • Bombs Over Baghdad - Outkast
  • The Way I Are - Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson
  • She Wants It - 50 Cent feat. Justin Timberlake
  • Bye Bye Bye – *Nsync
  • Love Me - Justin Bieber
  • Down - J Sean
  • Electric Feel - MGMT
  • Nasty Girl - Destiny’s Child
  • Tangled - Maroon 5
  • Untouched - The Veronicas
  • Whatcha Say - Jason Derulo
  • Blah Blah Blah - Ke$ha
  • Here to Stay - Christina Aguilera
  • Blame It - Jamie Foxx
  • Transform Ya - Chris Brown, Lil’ Wayne, Swizz Beatz
  • Let Me - Rihanna
  • Got 2 Luv U – Sean Paul feat. Alexis Jordan (current favorite!)
  • I’m So Proud of You – Drake feat. Nicki Minaj
  • Best Love Song – T-Pain feat. Chris Brown
  • You Da One – Rihanna
  • Dance (A$$) Remix - Big Sean feat. Nicki Minaj
  • Rude Boi – Rihanna

What are you favorite workout jams? Favorite artists? Can you teach me how to use my iPod? On second thought, then Joe won’t update it for me anymore…